Nightshade-Free Survival Guide

Nightshade Free Survival Guide | Phoenix Helix

“Belladonna: in Italian a beautiful lady, in English a deadly poison.” ~ Ambrose Bierce

What are Nightshades?

You may have heard of the term “deadly nightshade” referring to a plant called belladonna, which was used as a poison in ancient times. Lesser known are the commonly eaten vegetables in the same nightshade family. They aren’t deadly, but they contain enough toxins to cause inflammation in some people, particularly those with autoimmune disease. Often, we don’t realize just how much, until we stop eating them:

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers (bell peppers, banana peppers, chili peppers, etc.)
  • Red pepper seasonings (paprika, chili powder, cayenne, curry, etc.)
  • Pimentos
  • Pepinos
  • Tamarillos
  • Goji berries
  • Ground cherries (similar to tomatoes, they have no relationship to fruit cherries)
  • Ashwagandha (an ayurvedic herb)
  • Tobacco
  • Read labels: terms like “spices” and “natural flavors” often contain the above seasonings, and “starch” often comes from potatoes.

Similar sounding foods that are not nightshades:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Peppercorns (black, white and pink)

How Are They Harmful?

First of all, nightshades aren’t harmful to everyone, but they are often harmful to people with autoimmune disease.

These vegetables all look so different, it’s surprising to discover they’re all part of the same Solanaceae family. They all contain toxic compounds called alkaloids. In nature, these  protect the plants against insects, by poisoning the insect and dissolving its cell membranes. Unfortunately, alkaloids can have a similar effect in humans, increasing our inflammation, overactivating our immune system, and causing permeability in our intestinal membranes (known as leaky gut), all of which contribute to autoimmune disease. If someone’s healthy, with low inflammation in their body, a balanced immune system, and a healthy and strong digestive tract, they can often eat nightshade vegetables without a problem. However, people with autoimmune disease are vulnerable, and nightshades often exacerbate symptoms.

If you want more details on these compounds and how they affect the body, here are two excellent articles:

What are Symptoms of Nightshade Sensitivity?

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness upon waking, or stiffness after sitting for longs periods of time
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Muscle tremors
  • Sensitivity to weather changes
  • Poor healing
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rashes
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

How Do I Learn If I’m Sensitive?

The only way to know is to eliminate them from your diet for at least 30 days. (No cheating.) Then, reintroduce them into your diet as a test: eat them at least 3 times over a 2-day period, and then stop eating them, and monitor your symptoms for 72 hours. Did you improve during the 30 days? Did you have a negative reaction when you ate them again?  If yes, you’re nightshade-sensitive. If no, you’re not.

You’ll find articles on the internet saying there are no peer-reviewed studies to support the nightshade-inflammation connection. This is true, largely because there’s no profit to be made in that research and therefore no funding. But you’ll also find many people who eliminated them from their diet, reintroduced them, and saw a clear connection between eating them and their symptoms. I’m one of those people, as is Sarah from Paleo Mom, Mickey from Autoimmune Paleo, Whitney from Nutrisclerosis, Stacy from Paleo Parents, and many others.

Does the Amount Matter? Can I Eat Just a Little?

I don’t recommend it. When I first went nightshade-free, I gave up the vegetables but kept eating the spices. I thought, ‘How can such a small amount hurt me?’ My inflammation lessened, but some remained. Then I did a strict elimination protocol, avoiding the spices as well. When I reintroduced them 30 days later, I had a huge reaction. Every joint in my body hurt, and it took 2 weeks before I returned to feeling normal again. Elimination diets are powerful learning tools, because by removing a food from your circulation altogether, you eliminate the chronic inflammatory response. When the food is reintroduced, if you’re sensitive, you will get an acute short-term reaction. It’s a very clear communication from your body on what foods are good for you and what foods are not.

Can You Be Sensitive to One and Not the Others?

It’s possible, because each vegetable has a slightly different alkaloid. You can test yourself by reintroducing them one at a time.

How Can I Live Without Them?

Let’s not lie; it ain’t easy. I cried when I learned I had this sensitivity. These are some of the most delicious vegetables and spices. They’re also heavily used in restaurant and store-bought food, making shopping and eating out even more difficult. However, there is a clear reward to a nightshade-free life: you feel better.

We Can Do This! Here are My Survival Tips:

  • If you’re craving potatoes, replace them with a starchy alternative: sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, butternut squash. You can cook all of these the same way you cook potatoes: fries, chips, roasted, mashed, and you know what? They have more flavor, too!
  • Although there’s really no substitute for a fresh summer tomato, there IS a substitute for a classic tomato sauce.
  • Nightshade spices usually give food a hot kick. You can still get this sensation through non-nightshade spices: white pepper, black pepper, ginger and horseradish. Usually you’ll need more of these spices than you would of the red peppers. Experiment.
  • Restaurants are tricky. Many sauces and spice blends contain nightshade spices. You have two options: ask your waiter how the food is seasoned (and trust them to tell you the truth). Or order your food unseasoned and bring some spices with you. Herbamare is a good choice (lots of flavor, no nightshades).
  • If you want to buy lunch meat, unfortunately most of them have nightshade spices. Paprika is especially overused because it adds color. However, Whole Foods has a “naked” line of deli meats and rotisserie chickens, which means they are simply meat with nothing (including spice) added.
  • US Wellness Meats offers some nightshade-free snack meat options that you can order online. And Epic Bison Bacon Cranberry Bars are delicious nightshade-free jerky.
  • There are many websites that offer nightshade-free paleo recipes: My Blog, Autoimmune-Paleo, Clean Plate, Nutrisclerosis, Paleo Mom and Chowstalker. Also, don’t be afraid to modify recipes you already have. You can often remove an ingredient or two without altering the deliciousness of the dish. Get creative and see what substitutions work best for you.
  • My final gift to you is a nightshade-free curry recipe. Happy cooking!

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AIP Series

I’ve written a series of articles to guide you through the autoimmune protocol, step by step. It includes FAQ, mistakes to avoid, book reviews, and more. Click here to see the whole list.

This post is linked to the following blog carnivals:
Wellness Wednesday, Whole Food Friday, Sunday School, Natural Living Monday, Fat Tuesday, Healthy Tuesday, Tuned-In Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Party Wave Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Well Fed Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Paleo Rodeo, Fight Back Friday,

98 thoughts on “Nightshade-Free Survival Guide

  1. Great article! I’ve been off the nightshades for about 2 months (a tiny slip here or there…) Something I’m doing is really helping with my Lupus symptoms – I can’t say for sure this is it – but I suspect it is part of it.

    • Hi thanks so much for your article. I have an amazing story! I have a nut allergy but since June I started to have severe problems with my face going red with a hot fiery hive rash and tongue and eyelid swelling. It became totally debilitating and happened more and more often meaning I had to go to out of hours emergency because I felt so unwell and breathless. I was always given steroids but it came back and I was at my wits end. I was told it may be a contact allergy and got tested and it didn’t show a clear result. I saw an imunologist and was told I had chronic urticaria – caused by an unknown triggger. He gave me high dose antihistamines day and night as I woke up unable to breathe one night and had to take my epi pen and was rushed to hospital. He said if this didn’t work I would need to try immumo suppressants. I was convinced it was a food allergy as my tongue had hives in it too ! I then prayed and asked God what wqs causing it ? I cried out for help. I hen remebered one sat being really bad after eating a baked potato so asked the fox to test my igG to potato and bacon as I ate both. I ate the whope skin too of the potato but normally I dont. Anyhow I just found out I am allergic and was igG 3.53 ! Zero is most people score. I then stopped potato and all potato starch etc. At first I didnt see a huge difference but after three days – wow! I also had lots of people praying for me and on Sunday three days after no potatos I woke up and noticed I didn’t have any hives and my face was amazing. I went to church and realised something was different! I didn’t itch ! My tongue was normal and clear !! Wow !! My eyelid was normal for the first time in months!! Thank you Jesus ! I am amazed as is everyone I know !! And I can be such a cynical person so I am ecstatic! I will not be having any nightshade again! It has changes my life and saved me from a life on immuno suppressants. Keep telling people with immume problems and hives to try no nightshades. I also had terrible cramps and ran to loo when I ate a stirfry of peppers. My eyelid and tongue swole up and my face went red n hives. I woke up w breathing problems that night and had to take steroids to help me. I ate them because I thought they were ok. I then looked up pepper and potato allergy and found all this info on nightshade allergy!! Keep up the good work telling people. I have got the best gift of all!! Healing and lovely skin! J

  2. Great information, just wanted to let you know quite a few people with our illness suffer with joint and rheumatoid arthritis so I’m going to add a link to your site…. Thanks for the information and all your hard work to provide for others the information you have. You have done an amazing job!

    James Weedmark

    • Thank you as well, I truly believe this is a joint effort. With the dedication of many we will see a change for the better for many, YOU are truly one we will add to our I CARE PEOPLE!!! Thanks for all you do! James

  3. What a great article, Eileen! Last summer I found out the hard way that ground cherries are actually nightshades as well.. I thought since they had cherry in the name, they weren’t even close, but I should have been tipped off by the tomatillo-like outside. :)


      • Ground cherries – I have never heard of it! So it begs the question – is it still safe to eat regular fruit cherries? And what are ground cherries exactly?

        • Nicknames for foods do make things confusing. Ground cherries actually look and taste like little tomatoes. They’re not related to the cherry family at all. So, definitely continue to enjoy fruit cherries. They’re full of wonderful phytonutrients (like all berries) and aren’t related to nightshades at all.

    • A type of “ground cherry” is now sold as “golden berries” (a commercial name) in health food stores. They come dried and sometimes fresh. Just so everyone knows, they are in fact a nightshade (scientific name: Physalis)

  4. Wow! I’ve never heard of this before. This is very informative and worth my looking into. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m found you link on A Humble Bumble blog hop.

  5. Thanks for sharing your informational post! I have heard that tomatoes and peppers can “cause” arthritis… but your post explained how it actually works.

  6. Hmm…I have fibromyalgia and I’ve found that eliminating sugar has been a huge help for my joint stiffness, but I wonder if eliminating nightshade would help, too? I have to admit, I’m not sure I even want to know if I need to eliminate tomatoes and those spices from my diet! It must be really tough.

    • I hear ya! I avoided testing this out myself for a while. Ignorance is bliss sometimes (except when it hurts!) I will say that, like anything, you just develop new food habits and eventually forget about the foods you can’t eat any more. My joint pain reduced enough that I feel grateful now, rather than deprived. However, if you want to wait until summer is over before testing this for yourself, I would completely understand!

      • I don’t know if I’m sorry or not I ran across your article. I’ve been on SCD a long time. It’s pretty lonely. I am somewhat better. But I think if I could control the stiffness and joint pain I might be able to do things again. Also I just planted my whole back yard with tomato plants for canning and froze chili, stew and ribs with sauce. Sometimes I can tell this pain is a reaction to something but I’ve eliminated so much I couldn’t figure it out. I think I already know this will work. I’ll have to change my menu and recipes all over again.
        Thank you for the knowledge, I think.
        I’ll mean it when the pain stops LOL

    • I can definitely say nightshade free works wonders lowering my pain. I knew mine was not in joints. I also knew I was hurting a lot but when i came off of them for just a week it was amazing. I then backslid and when the pain came back I thought I would die! The level was obvious because at one level i could not do this, then at level 2 not do something else, so I knew what point pain was when i quit eating them. I was off almost a week and it dropped from a worst of 10 down to about a 4.. I fudged and ate some potatoes… Pain the second day after ingesting went to a 30! But I had to sit and figure out, all my life pain had gradually gone up.. all my life i had been affected.. removing them stopped the pain that i had been so accustomed too. So that when I ate a potato, it SEEMED as if I had been a frog thrown right back in to boling water I had just escaped from a few week before. So coming off of them did not make me more sensitive it just ruined me to eat any and feel that pain again! I wont say other will get same response I have but I am almost afraid to eat anything.. I dont want to ever eat any of them again.

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  8. Great Article. I’m so glad to hear cumin is not a nightshade spice. I thought it was. Thanks for the “curry” spice. So excited to try it.

  9. Dear Eilleen,
    thank you so much for this informative article. I just recently found about the link between my autoimune desease (Hashimoto thyroiditis) and foods and am on quest for finding answers to “why” and “how” some food is bad for me. Your piece brought some much needed epifany to me. Thanks again and all the best!

  10. Thank you for this. I had known I was sensitive to green peppers for about a month, but just in the last few days started having painful reactions to other nightshades. Now I read this and realize I have been suffering with symptoms of this intolerance for longer than I ever realized. I cried when I thought about what I was going to have to give up. I’m glad I found this. It helped me realize that there are other people suffering with this same intolerance and that I will survive without these foods.

    • Hi Travis. Grief is definitely part of the process, but once you start to feel better, it gets replaced with gratitude. Thanks for writing.

  11. My 2 year old suffers with eczema very badly and I have found it can be controlled by eliminating the Nightshade Vegetables from her diet. I’ve been looking for some recipes so thank you for your advice and a really informative blog.

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  14. Is it possible to have a nightshade sensitivity reaction from canning tomatoes? I canned 21 quarts of stewed tomatoes and the next day felt like I was coming down with the flu. My whole body aches but I have no other symptoms, just my whole body aching. I have never been sensitive to tomatoes before but wondering if absorbed enough through my skin to cause a reaction. Thanks for any information you might have on the subject.

      • I don’t know about tomatoes, but I get the same thing when I chop chillies for my green curry paste (about 30).
        I have recently been diagnosed with lupus and am gluten, dairy and sugar free. I am just about to start nightshade free..

  15. Thank you for sharing this information. I am suffering from multiple food intolerances and thought to finally have a bit of control there. So I ate potatos twice last week and tomatoes and a little bit of capsicum in my rice, just to give my *friend* nightshade another chance… I am in much pain right now, haven’t slept for 3 nights and the acne on my face has become more severe. So…if I ever doubted nightshades…I am now very sure! Greetings from Holland ;-)

    • It’s amazing how clearly the body speaks when we know how to listen, isn’t it? So sorry you’re going through this! In the long run, knowledge is power. Gentle hugs to you in Holland. ♥

  16. I have been suffering from knee and pain in my hips for the past ten years and it was 2 years ago I stumbled across an article on the internet about the nightshade family of foods and I stopped eating them and within days I felt I had got my life back!. I have experimented by stopping and again eating these foods and its clear these foods give me severe stiffness and joint pain! just wish I had known about these foods years ago.

    I also take a tablespoon full of dried ginger powder mixed in a glass of warm water every morning as ginger has strong anti inflammatory effects! it really helps. I also take a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed in a glass of milk as turmeric is also known for strong anti inflammatory properties.

  17. I have a question, trying to figure out some things. Nightshade is as I told you in another post a huge problem for me! I know nightshades have saponinen in them as well as solanine. Is it possible I react to all things containing saponines like e.g. Spinache, onions, quinoa, tea, legumes, harloc, and also soap and shampoo? I know some saponines like spinache and garlic are good ones for the human body, but I can’t handle them. Hugs from Holland ❤️

    • I don’t have the answer to this one, Foksola. Although I’m sensitive to nightshades, I don’t have any problem with other saponins. We’re all unique though, and anything is possible.

  18. Thank you so much for this info! Last week, I made the most amazing roasted organic chicken, and I made my own curry blend rub with some new spices I had picked up; it was delicious. However, the next morning, my husband and I were both almost completely “broken” – swollen joints, terrible joint pain, stiffness, difficulty moving – it was agony. I’ve been following your blog for a while, so I figured I would check here to see if any of my ingredients were nightshades, and was surprised to see paprika and cayenne on that list (I feel so stupid for not checking first). I had used both smoked paprika and roasted cayenne in my curry blend, everything else I made was fine so those two ingredients had to be the source of our pain. I was pretty vigilant about what we ate before, and am even more vigilant now. Thank you again for your amazing blog!

    • I know, those spices are tricky. All pre-mixed curry blends contain nightshades as well. Did you see my nightshade-free curry recipe? That’s what I use now. Feel free to use it as a starting point and adapt to your taste.

  19. I’m in shock tight now, finding that my all time favourite goji berries are nightshade… I was eating them in mass, and I developed pain in my fingers and hands. ( I was eating lots of tomatoes, too).
    I will calm down and sip some (decaf) tea, and say good-bye to my remaining goji berries. Thank you very much for the information.

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  22. I have been progressively allergic for tomatoes for years now and didn’t know. This problem became impossible to live with. After many visits to gastroenterology specialists and after having done complicated tests I had no choice but to do surgery with a fifty-fifty chance of success, I was told. Prior to the surgery I made a trip to Thailand and China and there all the problems stopped. I had a wonderful vacation not being ruled by the unbearable problems. Once I got back home I started to wonder, why I am OK there and not at home and found that in these countries no tomatoes are eaten! Meanwhile I put myself on an elimination diet and found that paprika’s are not my thing either and I will continue. I am not unhappy at all, that I cannot eat those vegetables anymore, but rather so grateful that before doing useless and tough surgery, I went to Thailand and China and discovered the problem. It is amazing that the many medically trained people didn’t think of this possibility. I suffered my whole life from migraines…(related?) and have recently found to have arthritic pains in the fingers and limbs (related?)
    Liked your article immensely, in particular, as you mentioned, that there is not found too much about it in Internet. Thank you!

    • Sometimes the simplest solutions are the hardest to find! It would be so nice if doctors had more training in the influence of food on our health. I’m so glad you discovered this connection for yourself. Better late than never!

  23. Thanks for this! When I went nightshade-free almost 3 years ago there was almost nothing available in terms of reading or recipes. Now more and more people are discovering how much nightshades are affecting their health. This is a great page! Going nightshade free was a huge learning curve (and still is). It’s nice to find support now.
    Some things to maybe add to your survival guide: packaged shredded cheese nearly always contains potato starch as do many mayonaises (as well as paprika), and even some ice creams are unsafe. Thank you for your blog!

  24. I don’t see tobacco on your nightshade list. My sister had rheumatoid arthritis from teenage on. She never smoked herself but was exposed to smokers for many years – my father, grandfather who lived with us, her husband, colleagues and of course the general public. When business offices began to be smoke-free it started to become very obvious that her difficulties waxed and waned according to sporadic smoke exposure. She even found pain and stiffness increased when she drove past tobacco plantations on her way to North Carolina. For both of us the sensitivity also produced emotional effects – weepiness, angry outbursts. Hotels, which are not smoke-free in any sense that would benefit those who have a problem, as well as rental cars, which don’t claim to be smoke-free, can be a real challenge. After having at least twelve vacation trips ruined I now carry a homeopathic remedy to counteract the impact of these contacts.

    • I didn’t include tobacco because it’s not a food, but you make a good point that exposure in other ways makes a difference. Thankfully, smoke isn’t (and never has been) a part of my life. I’ve edited the article to add it to the list. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  26. I feel so hopeless right now. I have Hypothyroidism and Celiac. I am learning that I now can’t eat Nightshades because they are making me sick and my mouth gets all full of sores. I used to love food but now I feel like I can’t eat anything I used to enjoy. It’s so frustrating to live like this. I’m glad I found your blog. I won’t feel so alone.

    • Sherry, there is a grief process in losing favorite foods. But with time, you’ll discover new favorites. I eat delicious food every day and no longer feel deprived. If you aren’t already following the AIP Recipe Roundtables, I host them here on my blog every week. You’ll find lots of great recipes from creative cooks, who know exactly what you’re going through.

        • Hi Sherry,
          I am gluten, dairy and sugar free and just going nightshade free now. It is tough, especially when many of the foods that you have to give up have very addictive qualities. It is OK to admit this and that it is a struggle.
          But as the addictive effects wear off, you will want these foods less and less. I went from having pasta at least once per day, to now only getting a craving for it once every 4-6 weeks. I craved sugar for weeks after I gave that up and now realise how sweet vegetables and fruits really are, and find most sweetened foods to be way too sweet (something I didn’t think was possible previously).
          I am hoping that I will feel the same way in time with nightshades.

  27. Hello,
    I was advised 20 years ago to stay off nightshades (and quit ballet class) because of hip arthritis. Out of desperation, I finally tried cutting out nightshades last year. It has made a difference significant enough that I am will to continue not eating foods that I have loved and enjoyed for many years. One of my struggles is that one of my children has to have a gluten-free diet, and most gluten-free flours and baked goods contain potato starch. I am slowly experimenting with new flour substitutions. Today I learned that some American Chinese restaurants put ketchup (and other surprising ingredients) in their dishes. I appreciate blogs like this one for revealing nightshades in places I would never think to suspect. Thank you.

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  29. Eileen I WAS thinking of try kombucha I have been seeing it a lot. I was wondering does it help RA AND how much should I drink? Also is there a good aip rendly probiotic you can recommend, I heard it good for your stomach.

    • I love kombucha, and I do find it has pain-relieving benefits as well as digestive benefits. It’s a subtle effect, but every little bit helps! Check out my kombucha series of articles, if you haven’t already. As for probiotics, I haven’t yet found one that worked for me. In looking for a brand for yourself, the most important thing is to find one that’s allergen-free (which is hard to do since most are dairy-based), and then pay attention to how you feel when you’re taking it. I wrote an article on supplements, you might also find helpful.

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  31. I had really loose painful bowel movements all my life and found that I was sensitive to nightshade vegetables after keeping a food journal.

    The food journal I kept had a column for date, food eaten, and a bowel movement rating out of 10 which helped me pinpoint nightshades as the culprit. I now am very careful to not eat any nightshades even while dining out(Google every dish before ordering).

    The food journal worked wonders for me.

    • Food intolerance often shows up in digestive sympoms. Thanks for sharing, Ben, and I’m so glad you pinpointed the source of yours. Food journals are wonderful tools.

  32. Thank you so much for this article! I’m recently diagnosed with RA and while plain Paleo is helping my inflammation, I know I need to knuckle down and take the AIP leap. This piece really gave me hope that I’m not giving up that much more with AIP than plain Paleo.

    • I’m so glad, Victoria. Giving up nightshades was hard for me at first, but when my RA flares went away, it was totally worth it.

  33. Thanks for this great article, and the curry recipe! I was thinking I could just cut out the vegetables and keep the spices, but after reading this it seems like the best path is to go whole hog. I have been following a Paleo diet for a year now and seen much improvement in headaches and digestive issues. I still have bad arthritis pain in my foot from an old injury. I have a feeling Nightshade free is the way to go as I have already cut out tomatoes since they make me extremely bloated. I have a question for you… I have this great homeopathic cream for muscle pain and it has Belladonna in it. Do you know if that would also be considered a nightshade?

    • Belladonna is definitely a nightshade. I recommend looking for a cream that contains Arnica instead. (Also great for muscle pain, but not a nightshade.)

  34. Thanks for this article and site. I need to find out more. I’m already avoiding gluten, soy, dairy and wheat but am reacting to a supposedly allergen free spaghetti sauce that I made and am wondering if nightshades are the cause. I have an autoimmune disorder so it’s possible.

  35. Hey Eileen I guess I’mjust a hard learner.. Lol I tried reintroduction of tomatoes last sunda and wow big mistake. I wokeup Monday with an ache in me hip and that progressively got worse as the week continued. Finaly feeling better after 4 days of pain. Tough lesson but know you couldn’t pay me to eat nightshades.

    • I think we’re all hard learners sometimes, but when we get a message that strong, we finally get it. I’m glad your flare has passed.

  36. Hey there. Wondering if fatigue fits in here or “bone pain”. I am wondering about if I might be reacting as I’ve been having some goofy symptoms this week and have been eating quite a few tomatoes. Thanks and hope you are well!

    • Hi Adrienne. Yes fatigue and bone pain are possible nightshade reactions. If you’d like to test it, stop eating the tomatoes for 30 days, and then reintroduce to see how your body reacts. If you’re up for a wider test, I recommend giving up all nightshades for those 30 days for a totally clear baseline. I’m sorry you’re experiencing pain, and hope it passes quickly!

  37. I suffer with psoriasis and joint pain. Finishing up my first whole 30. My psoriasis has improved but my joint pain has not. Guess I will go another 30 days, eliminating nightshades this time. Hope it helps!

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  39. I am just starting to wonder if nightshades are causing some of my more recent issues (maybe even ones that started five years ago too). I can’t seem to find if they can be a cause of what I am currently going through, but I do know I have been eating a lot of potato and peppers. I have been getting a tightness feeling in my throat/neck and collarbone and it’s really freaking me out.

    • There’s an easy way to find out. Give up nightshades for 30 days and see if that feeling goes away. I realize that’s challenging to do in the summer, but feeling good is worth it!

  40. Is it fair to say that this throat/neck/collarbone feeling could take more than a few days to go away after removing nightshades?

    • Absolutely. That’s why you need to eliminate them for at least 30 days. That’s enough time to see some improvement, and if you choose to test reintroducing them, you’ll get a clear reaction if they’re the problem.

  41. I’ve been on the AIP diet for eight weeks now. I wasn’t ready to add anything back in, but I accidentally ate something with red pepper flakes! Ouch! My lips are hurting! Well, at least I know nightshades are not my friends. My swollen lips are what pushed me to this diet. I think I am sensitive to ALL nightshades including my beloved tomatoes!

  42. Thanks so much for your final gift of curry!! I cant wait to try it. Curry is one of my favorite things ever! If I eat nightshades I have hives for 24 hours and my throat will close up. I miss Mexican and Thai food the most. If anyone know of a potatoes yeast free beer let me know. I know that stuff like corona and budwiser are fine, but I want a microbrew. A good beer.

  43. I’ve been on AIP except for some cheats with coffee and chocolate for about 6 weeks, and my IC and tendonitis and osteoarthritis only vary a bit within a certain range, but then again no standard test shows any autoimmune (RF, citruline(my bad spelling), ANA). So I am adding some things back and I feel the same, except a bunch of string and mung beans were hard to digest, so I’m trying to figure that out. But what I do want to say about nightshades is that my naturopath told me she has patients that flare from some nightshades and not others, so it is important to test each one and not always lump them together. I hope this would help someone, but don’t risk it if you think it will make you to sick. Eliminating them did not seem to affect me one way or another, but I ‘ll see what happens when I test them.

  44. Thanks so much, Eileen, for writing this and to all the others that have commented. After already giving up soy, dairy, gluten, egg, onion, grains and beans, I thought I was the only one who cried at the prospect of giving up nightshades. It means learning a whole new way to cook. It helps to have company.

  45. Interesting article.

    As a child I never liked bell pepper or tomatoes or eggplant. Living in the South, rice was the typical starch, not potatoes. When I moved to South Texas as a young adult I developed a fondness for jalapenos and other spicy Mexican food. Around age 30 (and then living in the Northeast) I developed a severe digestive intolerance to peppers ( I react like food poisoning) and learned the link of paprika to peppers.

    I’ve been off “whites” (including potatoes) several times and notice that the clicking in my joints goes away but I’ve always associated this change with getting rid of those low glycemic carbs, not with potatoes as part of the night shade family.

    Over the years, I’ve developed a taste for tomatoes but still don’t care for eggplants.
    In prepping to do a 30 day cleanse for health reasons my nutritionist mentioned the nightshade family when I told her that I can’t tolerate peppers and I found this article. I am now convinced that I’m one of those that has a nightshade intolerance and I’ll be eliminating all of them on my cleanse. (and I’ve also forwarded this to my dad who can no longer tolerate peppers and has digestive and skin issues.)

    What’s fascinating to me is that these are the very foods I didn’t like as a child – hmmmm – maybe we as parents need to think twice about making our kids eat things they don’t like!

  46. I have been looking for websites to post since I can’t get a response from Dr. Childers site (he may have passed, he would be 104 if still with us) to alert folks that Pravastatin has nightshades in it. A friend who has been off nightshades was placed on it and got worse and worse and discovered it contains nightshades. Please alert anyone who could be affected by this

  47. Thanks for the info. I eat all those nightshades and personally I think I have autoimmune–all the swelling, joint pains, etc. and other symptoms. I will try to avoid them and find out for myself. The doctors just gave me meds which didn’t really address my pain.

  48. Thanks for the info, did not know about nightshades and now I understand why I got sik eating “safe” food. Your blog is so helpfull, and I have learned a lot that will help me to eat the right food. My tongue use to be svullen but now it is normal size again (nightshades?) I have less pain and fatique. I use Methotrexate and hope that I can get off the medication in the future.

  49. I discovered last March that I’m sensitive to nightshade. I have fibromyalgia and it has reduced inflammation so i am pretty strict about it. I have missed curry etc so much! I was searching Google for substitutions for peppers and found your great article. Thank you so much for the curry and tomato sauce recipes! I can hardly wait to try them!!

  50. Pingback: Recipes That Are Nightshade Free | We Get Healthy

  51. Pingback: Nightshades: Foods and Substitutions - Paleo Plan

  52. Pingback: Nightshade-Free Survival Guide | Phoenix Helix | getbye

  53. Pingback: GAPS Intro Diet Modified for Autoimmune Disease

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